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Jets Marty Mornhinweg On The Sanchez, Smith Battle

New York Jets Offensive Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg spoke to the media Sunday afternoon and gave an update on the QB battle between Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith.

Opening Statement

Alright, a couple things. Were in the early stages of installation right now. Were installing, lets say, between 21 and 30 passes a day and between four and eight runs a day so its quite extensive for the players and were in right in the middle of our third and fourth installation. Now, up to date, theyve had these plays at least once and sometimes twice in the minicamps in the offseason. Were rolling pretty good with the installation. That will stay consistent through about 10 installations every day. And so thats where were at there. The players are working extremely hard, both on the field and as well as their preparation. Got to hand it to them, they did a heck of a job adjusting this morning when it started coming down. We had a little lightning. We all adjusted, restarted and got our work done in a walk-through manner this morning. Now their challenge this afternoon mentally is to restart with the first day of pads. As you know, they were juiced up, now, to get going this morning. Thats a pretty good challenge so well see how it goes this afternoon. The last thing, the offensive staff, I wanted to just touch on that just a little bit. Just terrific position coaches. Theyve really worked hard with their preparation ultimately to get the players prepared. Really strong offensive staff and as you know, many of you know, I lean on all of those staff members heavily throughout training camp and the season.

On the biggest challenge for a young quarterback picking up a new offense

Well, the first couple of things (are) simply the verbiage. And were talking specifically (about) Geno (Smith). Now, Mark (Sanchez) has had quite a little bit of experience, as has (Matt Simms) and Greg (McElroy). So they sort of know how to learn a pro system and so theyre a little quicker. Weve had them for a little bit longer, as well. Geno is really doing a fine job with the verbiage. The second thing after that is reps, reps, reps, reps. Literally hundreds of times with our base plays and those two things are the key for a very young quarterback.

On how he assesses the quarterbacks

Well, weve all seen Geno. First of all, hes an outstanding young man. You all have met him Im assuming, or at least most of you. Secondly, (hes a) highly talented young man. The next thing would be (hes a) very bright guy, certainly football-wise. (Hes a) very bright guy. We were just talking there about how quickly hes progressed within the system. His challenge is to continue to progress so when he gets (an) opportunity to play in the Green and White and the preseason games he can go in and function at a high level. Now, Mark on the other hand, has a wealth of experience and his challenge is to play within our system at a high level, which hes proven he can do, on a really a consistent basis. Thats his challenge.

On if the quarterbacks will split first team reps every two days

Yes, to start with. And then as we go, and listen, we communicate really I would say day-to-day but its almost hourly-to-hourly on virtually all positions and certainly the quarterback position. And so well make adjustments as we go and how they progress but itll be to start with. Mark had the first two, Geno will have the second two, Mark the next two, and well go from there.

On how much the quarterbacks retained following the break before training camp

Well, (theyve been) outstanding. David Lee, the quarterback coach, tests them virtually every day. Whether it is on paper or verbally and thats quite a challenge, now, even for the experienced guys it was quite a challenge. So, yeah, we utilize tests every day. Theres too much at stake. Theres great responsibly at all positions so certainly we use the testing method virtually every day.

On how much Smith retained

He was outstanding.

On if he is pleased with the performance of the available running backs so far

Yes, with the talent that we have. Now certainly an injury, we would like them on the field getting the reps. I do know this, we have quite a talented unit there as far as the physical ability goes. I think Chris (Ivory) will be back here pretty quick, as well.

On the performance of John Griffin

Well, he really showed up and showed some signs that he was an NFL-caliber half back in the minicamps. And then hes just progressed from there. Hes had a couple of things, hes got natural hands, but he put a couple on the ground the other day. So hes got to play at that consistent level.

On how Smith has fared playing under center

Yeah, I believe we covered that quite a while back, but that was one thing I wanted to look at in his Pro Day. I think some of you, weve discussed that. He was just smooth as silk from under center at his Pro Day. Now, some quarterbacks who are not under center much, its almost seamless. Its just natural for him to going under center. (For) others it takes a little work. Geno was pretty natural and youve seen him under center already and it was a natural thing for him. There was absolutely no problem, almost seamless.

On the quarterbacks hes worked with throughout his career picking up his offense

Ive been pretty lucky, Ive had some great ones, however, they all evolve and progress in different manors and different rates. Sometimes the ones that it takes a little while end up becoming the great ones and vice versa almost sometimes. I know this, Jeff Garcia, in his rookie year, became almost a master of it very, very quickly. He went to the Pro Bowl in his second year. Now, having said that, he played several years up in Canada, so that pro experience counts. Otherwise, all of them have done an excellent job mentally and its a lot of work. It really is a lot of work. But, most of the time when they know its a lot of work, then they go after it and they do even a little better job of it.

On Clyde Gates development and performance in training camp

I didnt get to see much at all in the minicamps. He was in the tub. The little I did see him though, towards the end of minicamp, he flashed big. Now flash is another thing. Weve got to play at that high level really consistently. Up to date, hes done a heck of a job. Up to date. Now his challenge is to continue to progress and keep that level at a high level day after, day after, day after day and staying healthy.

On what the offseason was like for the receivers and trying to learn his offense and what have you seen so far in training camp

Sanjay (Lal), the receivers coach, has done an excellent (job). Hes a heck of a receivers coach now and he has done a heck of a job with them. It was a lot of hard work in those minicamps. Not only the mental part, but the details like you mentioned on the field. Yesterday, I saw some things crisp, aggressive, detailed workout for really the first time. And, Im talking about a bunch of reps like that. That was a good sign yesterday. I think were hitting it right about now and weve got all training camp left. Now, well go through some ups and downs, at every position. But, there were some good signs there yesterday.

On planning for not having Santonio Holmes in the lineup

Thats a good question. Thats part of what we do. We have plan A, B, C, D, E and all the way down. And we will have plans for a man, if he becomes available, lets say on game week on Friday or Saturday. On a normal Sunday game, well have plans for that. Thats just the way we go about our business. Well have plans for everybody thats available and well have plans for a man (if) hes not available. We will have plenty for that game to do some damage.

On whether he is concerned that Chris Ivory has only caught a few passes in his career

Going all the way back to several others backs that didnt catch the ball much coming out of college or even somewhere else, Garrison Hearst for example. They have some natural skills and you go back to reps, reps, reps, reps, and then all of a sudden they become very good backs. Now, well do it within their strengths. Some backs are made to play outside just a little bit. Some arent, so well do that. Chris (Ivory) has shown up to date, he (has) natural hands. We suspected that by just (seeing) film on him catching the ball before we acquired him. Then we acquired him and got him in. It appears that he has real natural hands.

On what the team will look for when deciding the starting quarterback

Theres a lot of things that well look for. Every position, and certainly the quarterback, will be evaluated every day, every play, every practice. Normally is what happens is one man significantly removes himself from the other fellows. So, when that happens, therell be a time where well make that call. The tougher one is when its very, very close and so well be ready for that and then you go on some gut instincts there.

Source: New York Jets Media


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